Concrete is often a strong enough product in itself. However, the material cracks under too much pressure. In the same way, concrete can crack when it is under too much pressure. Concrete is known to resist compression but bends or cracks under tension. To make concrete stronger and last longer under stress, companies add materials to concrete at various stages of the process.
Let us now understand the essential ingredients that can be added to a volumetric concrete mixer to achieve maximum strength.
Although cement makes up the smallest percentage of the mixture, it is the basic component of concrete. Cement serves as the glue that holds everything else together. It is also what allows the finished mixture to be set once it is placed. To make concrete of any type, you need cement of one of five types. The most common type of residential work is Type I. Mild sulfate conditions are suitable for Type II. Those of type III are used in climates where freezing is a concern. There are certain types of jobs that are appropriate for specific locations, such as industrial spaces. When extreme sulfate conditions are present, Type V should be used.
Due to the relatively mild climate, we experience here, Types I and II are the most prevalent residentially in the United States.
Water and Air
A certain amount of air entrainment (small air bubbles) in the concrete is needed for the mixture to be effective. Aerated cement ensures that excess water has a chance to expand as it goes through the freeze-thaw cycle. However, these air bubbles must be microscopically small, otherwise, the “entrained” air turns into “trapped” air, leading to shrinkage and cracking. Of all the other basic ingredients involved in making a mixture, water tends to have the biggest effect. In general, the more water you add to the mixture, the less strength the set mixture will have. Shrinkage and cracking are also likely when too much water is contained. Excess water eventually evaporates from the hardened concrete, causing the concrete to shrink and eventually crack.
The ideal amount of water can be measured by the ratio of water to cement, which should be between 0.4 and 0.6. The mobile cement mixer becomes weaker as the ratio increases. Performing a slump test can help you determine the solubility of your concrete. By doing this, you will be able to determine whether or not your mixture contains too much water.
Gravel and Sand
Approximately 70% of the mix consists of gravel and sand aggregates. This high percentage makes the mixture more economical—gravel and sand are stronger and more cost-effective than cement. A good finished mix will contain a reasonable amount of large (gravel) and small (sand).
This is because the gravel makes up the majority of the finished mix and the smaller sand particles will do a good job of filling in any other spaces that might otherwise be filled with unwanted air pockets. Well, there you have it, the ingredients that come together to create the most widely used building material in the world – concrete. As you can see, each ingredient and its ratio affect the quality and type of the final finished mixture. You must get the best premix for your particular job.
There are combinations of materials that seem to simply belong together. Combining wood and concrete is one of them. While both have an earthy character, natural wood exudes warmth and coziness, while concrete is a man-made composite material with a cool aura. And yet, when combined, they add drama to any space.